Whether you go for an acoustic guitar with a cutaway or a non-cutaway guitar will depend on a few things.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both. What you go with will depend on a couple of things:
- How much you need to reach the upper frets
- Your tone preferences
- What you use your guitar gor
Reaching the Upper Frets
If you play often in the upper frets of the guitar then it’s a good idea to get a guitar with a cutaway – to make those frets easier to access.
If you don’t tend to use those frets – maybe you are more of a rhythm guitarist – or if you want a certain guitar that you use for playing solely rhythm guitar – then you won’t need a cutaway.
Fullness of Sound
Though some debate this, a guitar without a cutaway has a fuller sound.
To my ear this is definitely the case.
So if you don’t need to access the upper frets, and like a fuller sounding guitar, then getting a guitar without a cutaway is probably the best option.
That’s not to say that you’ll definitely want that fuller sound – some prefer the sound of a cutaway guitar. So accessing of the upper frets isn’t the only reason to get a guitar with a cutaway.
The Sound Difference
Guitars without a cutaway tend to have better bass and better volume and have an overall fuller sound.
Guitars with a cutaway tend to be more treble heavy sound, and produce a slightly brighter sound – all else being equal.
Which sound you prefer will depend on your own tastes. Some people find the sound of a cutaway guitar to be more balanced. Whilst others find the sound with a cutaway to be too bright.
Check out the video below to see what you think of the difference
The two guitars in the video below are identical guitars except that one has a cutaway and the other doesn’t.
Do you notice the difference?
Generally speaking electric-acoustic guitars have a cutaway. This isn’t always the case but it’s more often the case than not.
The main reason for this is that the fullness of sound is less of a consideration when the guitar is plugged in. EQs and the like mean that you can boost the bass and adjust the sound anyway you want – which means having a cutaway is fine sound-wise (even if you prefer the fuller sound) and you get the advantage of being able to access the upper frets more easily.
Which Guitar should You Choose?
That all depends on what you are using the guitar for.
If you never play in the upper frets and don’t think you will be any time soon – then you’ll need to think about whether you would prefer the sound of a cutaway or a non-cutaway.
If you play on stage a lot and barely play unplugged then a cutaway is probably your best option. Even if you don’t access the upper frets that often or at all. Going for a cutaway will give you more options for a guitar with on board electronics.
If you do want to play unplugged sometimes but also want to play plugged in then you’ll need to consider the sound you prefer when your guitar is unplugged. If you prefer the non-cutaway sound then you will want to look for a non-cutaway with electronics. If you can’t find one that you like you can always have electronics installed (but it will be an extra cost).
Thanks for reading
I hope this has helped you to decide whether a cutaway or a non-cutaway guitar is right for you.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.